I think of Charlie Heaps every year at this time. (and on other occasions) He was a school mate and I didn't serve directly with him but we were in Vietnam at the same time. He had a twin sister and the two of them were absolutely the nicest humans on earth. She, Charlene, married my buddy. I can't even picture Charlie in combat.....that's just not him.
But he did and he died. God bless you Charlie Heaps and please comfort his family.
I think of my Dad. In October of 1943 he volunteered for the Navy, went through a 4 week boot camp, and then off to (He never said where) on a ship that had three times the men the ship was built for. IIRC he said the crew worked in shifts of 8 hours each. 8-Work, 8-Sleep, 8-Wait to go back to work.
He was hospitalized not long after with a "chest wound" and he never stated how this occurred. After the war was over he spent two years on Okinawa where he eventually learned to speak Japanese. I recall asking him once why he learned the language. He said, "Well...if you want to eat you have to know what they have on the menu."
When I was a kid he would come home from his Navy job and as my Mom was cooking he would ask "What's for dinner? Brown dog Sukiyaki?".....to which my mother would always give him "the look" and promptly tell him to behave and go wash up for dinner.
My Dad had his faults as I did as a Dad, but he was a good Dad and a good man. I miss him.
Three generations: My pop in North Africa, me in Danang and my son receiving a commendation from his submarine captain for 16 hours in a torpedo tube "un-wiring" a torpedo when a activation mechanism malfunctioned. I had two brothers who also served.
But this holiday is about those who didn't come home.
What kind of person seeks to lessen their financial burden ........through my financial sacrifice?
Older generations in our clan always called it Decoration Day, when I was a little feller.
Did some of that Sunday, roaming about Potter and Tioga. Yesterday my son and I traveled to Austinburg to check out some kin from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that I never even knew about. That little village is about seven miles east of our camp.
He's into some research on my paternal granny's folks. Mess of 'em buried in Austinburg's Pioneer Cemetery. Like most rural Amer;can cemeteries, place was decorated with American flags denoting the resting place of veterans. Son wondered what the ones with GAR markers stood for? Told him the Union Army in the Civil War. Even found the grave of an ancestor's husband that served in the War of 1812. That cemetery is aptly named, with many markers dating to the late 1700s and early 1800s.